Lake Hazen

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Lake Hazen
Location118 km (73 mi) southwest of Alert, Nunavut
Coordinates81°50′00″N 70°25′00″W / 81.83333°N 70.41667°W / 81.83333; -70.41667 (Lake Hazen)Coordinates: 81°50′00″N 70°25′00″W / 81.83333°N 70.41667°W / 81.83333; -70.41667 (Lake Hazen)
Primary inflowsGlaciers of the Eureka Uplands:
Henrietta Nesmith Glacier
Gilmour Glaciers
Primary outflowsRuggles River
Catchment area4,900 km2 (1,900 sq mi)
Basin countriesCanada
Max. length70 km (43 mi)
Max. width11 km (7 mi)
Surface area537.5 km2 (207.5 sq mi)
Average depth280 m (920 ft)
Max. depth289 m (948 ft)
Shore length1185 m (607 ft)
Surface elevation158 m (518 ft)
IslandsSt. John's Island
SettlementsHazen Camp
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Hazen is often called the northernmost lake of Canada, in the northern part of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, but detailed maps show several smaller lakes up to more than 100 km (62 mi) farther north on Canada's northernmost island. Turnabout Lake is immediately northeast of the northern end of Hazen lake. Still further north are the Upper and Lower Dumbell Lakes, with Upper Dumbell Lake 5.2 km (3 mi) southwest of Alert, Canada's northernmost settlement on the coast of Lincoln Sea, Arctic Ocean.[1]

The northeastern end of Lake Hazen is 118 km (73 mi) southwest of Alert. Lake Hazen is the world's largest lake north of the Arctic Circle by volume. By surface area, it is third largest, after Lake Taymyr in Russia and Lake Inari in Finland. Lake Hazen is 70 km (43 mi) long and up to 11 km (7 mi) wide, with an area of 542 km2 (209 sq mi). It stretches in a southwest-northeast direction from 81°40′N 72°58′W / 81.667°N 72.967°W / 81.667; -72.967 (Lake Hazen (southwest)) to 81°56′N 68°55′W / 81.933°N 68.917°W / 81.933; -68.917 (Lake Hazen (northeast)). The lake is up to 289 m (948 ft) deep. The shoreline is 185 km (115 mi) long and 158 m (518 ft) above sea level. It has several islands, the largest of them being St. John's Island, which is 7 km (4.3 mi) long and less than 1 km (0.62 mi) wide, also extending in a southwest-northeast direction like the lake itself. Other islands include Gatter Island, Clay Island (both close to the northeastern shore), Whisler Island, and Dyas Island (both close to the southern shore). The lake is covered by ice about ten months a year. It is fed by glaciers from the surrounding Eureka Uplands (Palaeozoic rocks north of the lake, rising up to 2,500 m (8,200 ft) above sea level), most importantly Henrietta Nesmith and the Gilmour Glaciers, and drained by 15 km (9.3 mi) long Ruggles River which flows into Chandler Fjord on the northern east coast of Ellesmere Land. The lake is flanked by the Arctic Cordillera.

The area around the lake is a thermal oasis within a polar desert, with summer temperatures up to 23 °C (73 °F).

The lake is part of Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Artifacts of Thule civilization were discovered near Lake Hazen in 2004.[2] Thule preceded the Inuit. In 1882, Augustus Greely discovered the lake during his expedition 1881-1883. Greely's base camp for the exploration was Fort Conger at the northeastern shore of Ellesmere Island, at 81°44′N 64°44′W / 81.733°N 64.733°W / 81.733; -64.733 (Greely's base camp (Lake Hazen)), which was established as part of the first International Geophysical Year (IGY). Hazen Camp was established on the northern shore of the lake in 1957 during the IGY, and has been used by various scientific parties since then.

Lake Hazen is populated by a larger and a smaller morphotype of Arctic char. Recent studies indicate they are not anadromous, though Inuit traditional knowledge states otherwise.[3]

Named Inflows

All named rivers and creeks are listed in a clockwise manner, starting in the south:

At the southwestern end (from south to north):

  • Very River
  • Adams River

On the northwest coast (from southwest to northeast):

  • Turnstone River
  • Henrietta River
  • Ptarmigan Creek
  • Blister Creek
  • Skeleton Creek
  • Snow Goose River
  • Abbé River
  • Cuesta Creek
  • Mesa Creek
  • Gilman River

At the northeast end (from north to south):

  • Turnabout River
  • Salor Creek

On the southeast coast (only in the southwest, near the southwest end of the lake):

  • Cobb River
  • Traverse River


Tourists to lake Hazen start their hiking trips from Tanquary Camp at Tanquary Fiord Airport 70 km (43 mi) southeast of the lake.


  1. ^ "Description of Lake Hazen". University of Guelph. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  2. ^ Greg Younger-Lewis (October 29, 2004). "Ambitious plan proposed for Quttinirpaaq National Park". nunatsiaq. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  3. ^ "Assessing the Health of the Lake Hazen Ecosystem, Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories at". Environment Canada. Retrieved 2008-02-10.